22 March 2008

'The Master of the House Washed My Feet!'

Here is a story from The Far East, the magazine of the Columbans in Australia and New Zealand about a Hindu, Nomo, who proclaimed the gospel after a Holy Thursday experience. What struck me is its similarity to the story of the Samaratan woman at the well, who also became a missionary by telling the people in her town that she had discovered the Messiah. Father Walker is editor of The Far East.

Pray for the soul of Nomo.

The Master of the house washed my feet

By Father Gary Walker

An Easter story comes from Sindh province in Pakistan where the Columban Fathers work. The extraordinary experience of a Hindu man who was caught up in the Holy Thursday liturgy and had his feet washed by the parish priest, Irish Columban Father Tomas King.

Matli is a town in Sindh where the Columbans have worked for over 30 years. At Easter Catholics come to town from many areas to celebrate the Easter Triduum; they stay in the Catholic compound while they are in the town. At the same time a Hindu man by the name of Nomo came to Matli to visit his relatives from Nagar Parkar a town right on the eastern extreme of Pakistan near its border with India. These are tribal people, Parkar Kholi people, who are Hindu and Christian as well as Muslim.

Nomo was several hundred kilometers from home and invited to the Holy Thursday night liturgy by a Catholic friend. Fr Tomas King the resident priest at that time randomly arranged for some men to have their feet washed at the altar. It just happened that Nomo was chosen and totally unaware of what was going to take place sat up in front of the altar with the other men. But when he saw that Fr Tomas was washing their feet, the poor fellow tried to run away - but they managed to persuade him to stay and Fr Tomas washed his feet.

This ritual washing had an extraordinary effect on him and he told others after Mass, " Now I have seen a true religion - I came into this house, a total stranger and the master of the house has washed my feet! Imagine the master of the house washing a stranger's feet."

He returned to Nagar Parkar and related this story, not only to his family but also his neighbors and friends. Nomo was a well known figure and a prominent person in the Hindu community in Nagar Parkar. Even though he was not baptized he proclaimed this message of love and service as he experienced it at the hands of a Catholic priest.

Sadly he died in questionable circumstances. Some Catholics in the area believe that he was poisoned while trying to bring peace and reconciliation between two parties that were at odds with one another. He had accepted the gospel as his way of life.

1 comment:

adelle said...

.... an amazing experience on how the spirituality of Fr. Tomas spontaneously and positively influenced Nomo.